MEG / FASHION MERCHANDISER / NEW YORK NY
Someone recently asked my opinion of Meg and my immediate response was that she does not have a mean bone in her body. She is smart, talented and relentless when it comes to furthering her career and sense of self. She’s not afraid to take risks and dare which is why today I urge you to meet Meg, she’s in full freakin’ Bloom.
HOW WILL YOU BLOOM IN 2016?
Moving to New York City from the Midwest was one of the most grown up things that I have ever done. My transition has had its ups and downs but a goal of mine is to better connect to my new city. I need to focus more on life outside work and I am working on what that life looks like and what I want it to be. I want to feel more anchored to New York and want to feel fulfilled and connected beyond the professional element.
DESCRIBE AN OBSTACLE THAT YOU OVERCAME.
“I benefit so much from working in an environment that has women present at every stage of the career ladder. It’s powerful and inspiring to go to work every day and see other women succeeding and growing in the same industry that I love as they are living, breathing examples of where I can be in 5 or 10 or 30 years, even if they don’t realize it.”
I was in a difficult situation at a previous job because it was the first time where, although I could execute my job well, I struggled with confidence because my managers were quite critical of my work. I knew my quality of work slipped because I spent too much time second-guessing myself; too much time internalizing the critical behaviors of those around me.
What propelled me forward was realizing I had to stop ascribing intention to other people’s behaviors toward me. I had to train myself to stop thinking that the way someone treated me or talked to me was a reaction to me in particular. Sometimes, the people around you are having a bad day (or two or three), and the way they treat you has less to do with your actual behavior than their own problems. It was freeing to realize I could stop replaying my team's criticisms over and over again in my head because that criticism was less about me and more about them. Taking feedback is an essential part of anyone's professional life, but learning where it can come from and that I don't need to take criticisms home with me every night, kept me sane and let me go back to doing my best work.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE MENTORSHIPS IN YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE?
Mentorships are extremely important and often underestimated. When I was in college, I was a tour guide and was mentored by a woman named Rebecca who became not only a mentor but also one of my closest friends. First off, she’s incredibly accomplished—Georgetown undergraduate degree, Harvard Law grad, job at the Department of Justice—and even better is that she’s an all around good person. She took me under her wing for the academic and personal parts of college. Even the little things she did like writing me the sweetest card for my 21st birthday made me feel so taken care of, like I had someone in my corner. I still have that card, actually. Having someone that I could always count on to be honest with me when she thought I was doing things that were not in my best interest was and still is essential. Having someone who can look at you and ask genuinely if you are happy is crucial. Through her honesty and ability to read me when I wasn't being honest with myself, I gained clarity in some confusing times.
With regards to my professional mentorships, while I have a mentor in my personal life through Rebecca, I have cobbled together work mentors over the last few years. When I started my first job my boss suggested I look to certain coworkers for different skills, like so-and-so who is great at presenting in meetings and so-and-so who can teach the tricky parts of Excel. I don't have one single professional mentor, but in the three companies I've worked for since graduating college, I've been lucky to have role models who are good at different parts of the job. Additionally, I'm lucky to work in fashion, an industry that in many ways is female-driven meaning that the majority of my work role models are women. I don't know how other industries compare in terms of gender balance but I benefit so much from working in an environment that has women present at every stage of the career ladder. It's powerful and inspiring to go to work every day and see other women succeeding and growing in the same industry that I love as they are living, breathing examples of where I can be in 5 or 10 or 30 years, even if they don't realize it.